First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone for your kind words of encouragement. I’ve had complete strangers, not only commenting on my original blog post about my brother, but also privately message me. There’s something inspiring about receiving a heartfelt note from someone you’ve never met. For every person who’s not sure what to say in a situation like this, there’s another who’s willing to reach out for no other reason than to bring someone a tiny bit of comfort. And all of that is okay. I’m not sure what to say sometimes either, even to my own brother, but I’m realizing that there are lots of ways to let someone know that you’re thinking about them, and it’s just making sure they know they’re in your thoughts that’s important.
On that note, I just wanted to briefly update you all. Austin’s surgery went incredibly well, as I told you all in my previous post. We got a scare recently, however, when he went in for a PET scan to check the success of the liver resection. His liver showed up clear of any cancer cells, but his lymph nodes near his lungs and throat lit up showing something was amiss. Here we go again, we all thought… But after a quick biopsy, we learned that it was NOT cancer, but possibly just some sort of infection that was making the scan light up. HUGE relief. So we’re back to Plan A – Aus starts radiation tomorrow, in addition to taking a chemo pill to help the process along. This should last 5 and 1/2 weeks and is mostly preventative, but hopefully will bring him some peace of mind for the future. Things aren’t perfect right now, and God knows (’cause I’ve told him) that I never imagined I’d be writing a blog post about my 28 yr old brother battling cancer, but life happens. Life happens and you can only hope that you have enough faith in something, or someone, to get you through these times. Austin’s fortunate to have an amazing family, both by blood and marriage, and we’re all so incredibly blessed to have him in our lives. He’s been a lifelong role model to me and always taught me what it means to be a caring, genuine person, but through this he’s teaching us even more than we could imagine. My sister-in-law texted me the other night after a long phone conversation to say that she walked into her kitchen, music blaring, to a dancing/singing husband in an apron, cooking dinner. If that’s not an inspiration to keep a positive attitude during tough times, I don’t what is. :)
Now….moving on to FIGS. (Sorry, there was no good segue there but that’s kind of been my life lately). I picked these babies up at the farmer’s market Saturday:
Lovely, right? Figs will forever & always remind me of my Granddaddy. He and my Grandmother had a fig tree right outside their kitchen window. Every morning that I can remember, she would go out there, pick some and cut them up for him for breakfast. Back then I thought they were SO. GROSS. Funny how things change…
I like to think of these as “Adult” Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. They are anything but gross. ;)
FIG, PROSCIUTTO & ARUGULA GRILLED CHEESE – A Milk Truck Original
Makes 1 sandwich:
sourdough bread – I used whole wheat sourdough
prosciutto – 2-3 slices
4 fresh figs
arugula – small handful
red onion – 2 thin slices
1) Turn oven to 350.
2) Cut the stems off your figs, then cut each fig in half. Slice your fontina cheese, as much as you’d like for your sandwich.
NOTE: I picked this cheese because it melts really well, and tastes great with sweet fruits. So beware – the more you put on now, the more of a mess you’ll have later! …but a delicious mess, nonetheless.
3) Assemble your sandwich, but leave the top piece of bread off. I go cheese, prosciutto, onion, figs, arugula, more cheese. This way the cheese glues everything in between the bread. Did ya get that visual? Good.
4) Baked your open-face sandwich until your cheese starts to melt. Then drizzle a little olive oil on your top piece, place it on your sandwich, and bake for another minute or two until it gets “toasty”. (That’s a technical term.)
5) Remove from oven. Smush down with spatula (also a technical term). Cut in half. Enjoy.
If there’s one If there are four things I’ve learned about grilled cheese sandwiches since moving up from the American Cheese division, it’s this:
- Don’t skimp on your cheese. Trust me, anything in a wrapper just won’t be as good. The cheese is the star here, so go to the cheese section and get something good for Pete’s sake.
- Don’t skimp on bread. Sourdough is my grilled cheese bread of choice, but go nuts! Ciabatta, Rye, 8-grain… Experimentation is key.
- Add something sweet. I don’t know why, but fruit, or jam, or something with some sweetness to it – even caramelized onions! – just takes it to a whole ‘nother level. Y’all know what I’m talking about. The eyes-closed-while-I-take-a-bite level. Mmmm…
- Cut it in half. It’s a grilled cheese law. That hasn’t changed since the Kraft single days.
[UPDATE] Two days later, I turned these ingredients into a pizza, baked that bad boy, then topped it with the fresh arugula and IT. WAS. AWESOME. I suggest you try it if you’re not a sandwich person.